A huge part of soft skills is communication. Both between you and other people and the 'voice in your head' communication, which helps you regulate your own behaviour.
Given the fast paced world in which we find ourselves, the art of listening
has become one of the biggest casualties. We simply don't seem to have time to focus, process what is being said to us and paraphrase in order to ensure clarity.
We hear the first couple of words and decide whether or not it's worth our while
to pay attention based solely on absorbing these few words. Whether it's a colleague or a customer, we jump from hearing to acting in a split second. After all, we've heard it all before anyway, haven't we?
This behaviour is read instinctively, if not overtly, by the person who's trying to give us the information
and it precipitates two possible reactions.
One, they simply stop talking and close down, long before you have the pertinent information - thereby wasting their time and yours. Or two, they become argumentative and belligerent to the point of aggression because they are sick and tired of no one actually listening to what they have to say.
We simply don't have time to focus and listen and understand... This is very poor judgement on our part. Specifically because you'll likely take the wrong action
, and the whole process will have to be rectified with both of you taking more time in order to hash out the problems which have arisen from this miscommunication.
You have to respect yourself and your time, as well as that of others
, sufficiently to actually listen with a view to gleaning the important points in their totality. Not what you assume they are trying to say - what they are actually saying. Not half the story, the entire scenario.
Listening is the bedrock of good, effective communication.
It's not a skill many of us possess because we're often unaware of how bad we've become in this area of our lives. It happens at home as much as it happens at work - with equally time consuming and conflict eliciting results.
So how can we train ourselves in the art of listening?
Well, firstly, take it seriously and be mindful of how you participate in conversations. Are you an active listener who fully engages through asking questions, reading body language and paying the other person the compliment of giving them your full focus?
Or, are you someone who barely hears the rest of the conversation once you've jumped to your own conclusions?
Our communication courses centre around understanding the need to develop good listening habits.
We help you identify where you fit on the spectrum, and provide tools to assist you in your quest to becoming someone who listens so others will speak.
We highly recommend our Communication Excellence
Email us at info@StaffTraining.co.za
for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660
is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer.